Industry agreement promises to increase healthy options for school meals

JAN. 24—A new multi-industry voluntary agreement was announced Friday by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The agreement brings together food manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies to help schools serve healthier meals at more affordable prices. As a result of the agreement, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation says more than 30 million students will have access to healthier school meals.

Companies that have signed up for the agreement are: AdvancePierre Foods, Domino’s Pizza, JTM Food Group, McCain Foods USA, Rick Products Corp., Schwan’s Food Service, Trident Seafoods, HPS, Premier healthcare alliance, Summa/Provista, Interflex, Dole Food Co., and the National Turkey Federation. The companies have agreed to develop, market and competitively price products that will lead to healthier school meal options, streamline the ordering process and make identifying healthy options easier.

Signatories have agreed to set prices for healthier items that meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s science-based standards for nutrition at prices no higher than less healthy comparable products. Participating manufacturers also have pledged to increase the sales of compliant products to at least 50% of their entire school sales within five years.

Product commitments fall in at least one of the following categories within the Alliance’s science-based guidelines for school foods:

  • Lean protein products, such as lean red meat, skinless poultry, lean deli meats, fat-free or low-fat cheese, beans and tofu
  • Low-fat entrées with reduced total fat, saturated fat and sodium levels
  • Whole-grain products, such as bread, pasta and pizza crust
  • Fresh, canned or frozen fruit
  • Non-fried vegetables; and
  • Zero trans fat cooking oils

“With students consuming up to half of their daily calories at school, healthy school meals are key to winning the fight against childhood obesity,” said President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, which funds the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, along with the American Heart Association, in a press release.

“Increased access and lower prices to purchase healthy meal components makes it easier for schools to offer healthier school meals—a key strategy to help combat childhood obesity and to move students and staff toward ideal cardiovascular health,” said Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and chairman, department of neurology Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, in a press release.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
coffee shop trailor graphic

A familiar face is coming to the roads of Rutgers University this fall: the Starbucks mermaid. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based school is testing a Starbucks truck throughout the upcoming semester, NJ.com reports . The company began testing trucks on college campuses in 2014, and now has mobile locations at Arizona State University, James Madison University in Virginia, East Carolina University in North Carolina and Sacramento State in California.

The trucks will serve the full lineup of Starbucks beverages that’s available at the outlet’s brick-and-mortar location at Rutgers,...

Industry News & Opinion

A study from Virginia Tech has found a connection between school meal participation and obesity in students. From data that predates the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act , the findings raise questions over whether nutrition standards go far enough.

The research evaluated data from 1998 to 2007, comparing first through eighth grade students who partook in free and reduced-price lunch and those who qualified but opted out. Wen You, associate professor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, says she expected to validate theories that increased breakfast...

Industry News & Opinion

Buffalo Public Schools is turning to local chefs and a little competition to help create new menu items, the Buffalo News reports .

In October, local chefs will compete against each other and a team of seven to 10 students led by chef Bobby Anderson, a former contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen,” to create lunch recipes that comply with USDA nutritional requirements and use seasonal produce sourced locally.

“This Chef Challenge is another way to engage our youth in a fun, friendly competition with local area chefs who can help create appealing recipes that will be incorporated...

Industry News & Opinion

After being sued by the Services Employees International Union over its decision to change vendors from Sodexo to Morrison, the foodservice arm at Mayo Clinic continues to face backlash from staff.

Foodservice employees at the Rochester, Minn., hospital last week handed over a petition 1,200 signatures deep asking that they remain with their current employer, Fox 9 reports .

While a Mayo Clinic spokesperson said that staff will be given similar positions and pay rates under Morrison, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota—the union representing much of the hospital’s foodservice staff—...

FSD Resources